What is a hypnotherapist? Quite simply, someone who is trained to combine hypnosis and therapy to help those with personal problems. If you choose hypnotherapy as a career you'll be helping people with issues such as panic attacks, stress, phobias, weight problems and unwanted habits such as nail biting or smoking.
Hypnotherapists are not doctors or psychologists, and do not work with serious mental illness.
Who can work as a hypnotherapist?
Until December 2010 hypnotherapy was a completely unregulated profession in the UK. Since then it has been subject to voluntary self-regulation. This means that there are technically no restrictions on who can call themselves a hypnotherapist.
Despite this, the general public seem to be much more aware that they should be looking for therapists who are properly trained, insured and working within the ethical guidelines of a professional body such as the General Hypnotherapy Register.
The best way to achieve this is to undertake a course, such as this one, which is accredited by one or more of these professional bodies, and which is fully compliant with the latest Hypnotherapy Training Standards. Details of these can be found on the GHR website.
Where do hypnotherapists work?
Almost all hypnotherapists are self-employed. Having said that it's possible to use hypnotherapy skills in many other careers: dentistry, midwifery, carer, social work, coaching and personal development support etc. Some psychiatrists and psychologists use hypnotherapy as part of their practice.
It is possible to work from home if you have suitable accommodation or you can lease a room in a therapy centre or office building.
What about the hours?
Some hypnotherapists work full time, others part time, some run their practice alongside another job. In fact it is recommended you keep your existing job while you get your therapy business up and running.
You will almost certainly need to offer some 'out of hours' provision such as evening or weekend appointments, since many of your clients will need to arrange their appointments outside their working hours.
How much can I earn as a hypnotherapist?
This is a tricky one to answer since most hypnotherapists are self employed and choose their own fee structure. Some work part time and others full time - indeed this flexibility is part of why many people become hypnotherapists in the first place. Therapists generally charge by the hour, and this varies from around £40 to £150 or even more; it tends to be highest in London and other big cities. It's difficult to find recent surveys that tell us anything very specific, but we've discovered these...
- according to research done by Barclays Bank in 2009, the average wage for a hypnotherapist was then £38,347 although they suggested earnings started around £12,000 for the first year in practice
- careers-guide.com suggests hypnotherapists can earn £15-£35,000+ per year depending on their level of experience, but the page hasn't been updated since at least 2014 when we first found it
- Steve Miller, via the Huffington Post, suggests that your success will depend on your having good business skills as well as being a good hypnotherapist - to us this makes a lot of sense
[links checked June 2017]
Our recommendation is that you estimate your own potential earnings. Do a bit of research and find out what the most popular fee is in the area you want to practice (many therapists show their fees on their websites). Multiply the number of clients you want to see per week by that fee, or whatever you feel you'll want to charge, to find your average gross income (before expenses).
Are there too many therapists out there for me to compete?
We couldn't find any published figures about the number of people in the UK who visit hypnotherapists but if we expand that to look at Complementary Therapies as a whole, it becomes easier.
- Figures extrapolated from the Health Survey for England 2005, for 7630 respondents, showed that lifetime and 12-month prevalence of complementary therapy use were 44.0% and 26.3% respectively; 12.1% had consulted a practitioner in the preceding 12 months. 29% of respondents taking prescription drugs had used these therapies in the last 12 months. [source]
- In the UK, 46% of the population can be expected to use one or more complementary therapies in their lifetime [source, 2010]
- Whatmedicine.co.uk (May 2014) says that complementary and alternative medicine is the second largest growth industry in Europe, after IT.
According to google scholar, a search of peer reviewed journal articles from 1st January 1996-11th March 2016 was performed over 9 databases, and concluded that the public attitude towards hypnotherapy is generally positive.
Matthew Krouwel concluded that in the US and Australia about 6% of people have visited a hypnotherapist, which is 'a little less than the number who bought the last Harry Potter novel'. (December 2016)
What's the downside?
- If you're in business by yourself, as most hypnotherapists are, you will need to do everything from PR, web design and book keeping to cleaning the office!
- Becoming self employed can be a steep learning curve. If you've always been employed by someone else before you will need to be able to keep motivated and to develop business skills as well as your professional (hypnotherapy) ones. Income can vary from month to month depending on client numbers instead of being regular.
- You will have to invest money in setting up your business (e.g. for insurance, professional body membership, website, leaflets) and it may not take off quickly, especially if you have never been self employed before.
We think these points apply to any new business venture and it's why we suggest running your therapy business alongside your old job at first until you are established. One which is fairly unique to therapy is...
- You may have to listen to problems you find distressing or difficult to hear and you may not be able to share much of your day (funny or sad) with family or friends because of confidentiality rules.
What's the upside?
- Hypnotherapy is a cheaper business to set up than many others, and overheads continue low: you don't need to invest in stock or much equipment, and you can work from home.
- The cost and time involved in training is a big investment for most of our students, but it's still less than for many other professions.
- Most clients pay you at each session, so there are very few problems with cash flow or bad debts, a big issue for many businesses.
- You have freedom from the nine to five; no two days are ever the same; you control your own working hours, conditions and clients.
- An amazing, satisfying and rewarding career.
Please note: this information is provided for your guidance only and does not constitute any kind of guarantee of what will happen if you take one of our courses.
Mintel report resourced from naturalmatters.net and May 2014. BBC report resourced from bbc.co.uk, May 2014